Start planning your trip to North America today!

The USA and Canada are not small. Actually, they’re huge. Extremely huge that you can’t even think about touring North America in one trip.

This is the home of New York, of Whistler, of Montreal, of New Orleans, of Austin, of Yellowstone, of LA, Miami, Churchill, and all points in mid. 

Consequently, if this is your first trip to North America, overlook seeing everything. Alternatively, you’re going to see a tiny sliver of what the continent has to contribute – yet even that is a good-looking exciting notion.

Therefore what do you choose out of all these options? Do you hit the national parks and enjoy the natural beauty of places like Wells Gray in Canada, Arches in Utah, Bryce Canyon, or the Yukon? Or do you stay in the urban areas, enjoying DC, Vancouver, San Francisco, Nashville, Chicago, or Dallas?

The Grand Canyon. The trivial problem with the US and Canada for first-time visitors is that they’re huge. 

The decision, finally, is yours, except my advice is the same: don’t strive to do too much. Slow down. You could spend a fortnight just in New York and not get bored. You could do two weeks in California and not even reach the state.

The secret to traveling in the US and Canada (and any country, literally) is to identify a few actual experiences that you want to have. Then the rest of the pieces will fall into place around them. Whatever floats your boat – North America has it.

The second piece of advice: don’t travel by bus in the US or Canada. Buses in the US, in particular, are pretty horrible affairs that have considerable distances to cover. 

Instead, book early for cheap flights on budget airlines or travel by train. An even better option, if you have the time, is to hire a car. 

This is a continent built for automobiles drivers – you’ll see more, you’ll experience more, and you’ll meet more people. The roads are good, and the cars are enormous.

Never, ever be afraid to ask for help in the US or Canada. Despite what you might have heard, people are pleasant up there and will jump at the chance to lend a hand to someone with a weird accent. 

If you’re on a budget, stay in hostels – they’re of pretty high quality in North America.

Brush up on your knowledge of tipping etiquette. This is essential. How much do you tip cab drivers? Or hotel concierges? Or your masseuse? Or the waiter? 

Prepare yourself to put on weight. Of course, there’s a lot more to North American cuisine than burgers and fries – but then, there’s also many burgers and fries. However, the real reason you’ll put on weight is that the food is served in enormous portions and is surprisingly good. 

Feast on shrimp and grits in the deep south; gorge yourself on poutine in Quebec. Eat pizza in New York, deep-dish pizza in Chicago, Tex-Mex in Dallas, proper Mexican in California, oysters in the northeast, and another seafood northwest.

Try the beer. Try any different craft beer you can get your hands on. North America is recognized for watery lagers, however, beer in the US and Canada has advanced greatly in the last ten years or so, with every city specializing in its own “craft brews.” For example Portland or Seattle.

Note: it gets cold in the north. Cold. You might be planning your trip for the northern hemisphere winter expecting it to get a little chilly, still, if you’re heading to the states of the north of the US or Canada, we’re talking -20 degrees, or -30.

Watch sports live. Whether baseball, basketball, ice hockey, or football – is a critical cultural experience full of quirks, traditions, and passion. Nevertheless, it’s easily worth the exorbitant price (check out sites like Stub Hub for hard-to-get tickets).

See live music. Both the US and Canada have an enjoyable tradition of live music, from jazz and blues in Chicago to alternative in Austin, country music in Nashville, rock music in Memphis, metal music in LA, grunge music in Seattle, and folk music in Portland. Every city seems to have a prolific and cheap live scene.

Don’t undervalue the magnificence of theme parks. However, even if you’re a grown-up, a trip on Space Mountain is a case that needs to be clacked.

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